Biden says US should NOT be worried about nuclear war with Russia after Putin readied his missiles

Biden says Americans should NOT be worried about nuclear war with Russia and Psaki reveals America has not changed alert level of its missiles trained on Moscow after Putin readied his warheads

 ‘Should Americans be worried about nuclear war?’ a reporter asked Biden during a White House event Monday. ‘No,’ the president shot back matter-of-factly Press secretary Jen Psaki later said the White House sees ‘no reason’ to change its nuclear posture‘We think provocative rhetoric like this is dangerous adds to the risk of miscalculation, should be avoided, and we’ll not indulge in it’ Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby said Monday that Putin now has three quarters of his resources, 120,000 of the 160,0000 troops amassed at the border deployed to Ukraine 






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President Joe Biden said Americans should not be worried about nuclear war with Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin put his country’s nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday in an escalation of tensions with the west after attacking Ukraine last week.

‘Should Americans be worried about nuclear war?’ a reporter asked Biden during a White House event Monday.

‘No,’ the president shot back matter-of-factly.

Press secretary Jen Psaki later said the White House sees ‘no reason’ to change its nuclear posture. 

‘We think provocative rhetoric like this is dangerous adds to the risk of miscalculation, should be avoided, and we’ll not indulge in it.’ Psaki said, after Putin announced that ‘aggressive statements’ by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led him to ratchet up his nuclear defenses. 

‘We are assessing President Putin’s directive and at this time we see no reason to change our own alert levels.’

Putin’s move raised concerns that the invasion of Ukraine could intentionally or mistakenly lead to a global nuclear war.

A senior U.S. Defense official told the Associated Press that Putin is ‘potentially putting in play forces that, if there’s a miscalculation, could make things much, much more dangerous.’ 

Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby said Monday that Putin now has three quarters of his resources, 120,000 of the 160,0000 troops amassed at the border deployed to Ukraine. 

Putin’s directive raising concerns of nuclear war comes as he agreed over the weekend to peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow delegations at the Belarus border on Monday.

Russia’s assault on Ukraine continued overnight as Putin’s forces closed in on the capital city, but President Volodymyr Zelensky has been able to so-far defend Kyiv. 

President Joe Biden assured Americans on Monday that they should not worry about nuclear war with Russia

The Biden administration’s instructions for nuclear explosions tells Americans to ‘continue to practice social distancing’ by remaining six feet apart and wearing a mask when sheltering in place in the event of nuclear attack


The move comes as an image was released of Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting several feet away from his aides during a meeting. Putin ordered forces operating Russia’s nuclear deterrent to be on alert amid simmering tensions with the West

Meanwhile, a government website on preparedness that was updated Friday says Americans should stay inside, but make sure to social distance and wear masks if they are sheltered-in-place with people outside their household. 

One section of the website for nuclear explosions tells Americans: ‘Stay inside for 24 hours unless local authorities provide other instructions.’

‘Continue to practice social distancing by wearing a mask and by keeping a distance of at least six feet between yourself and people who not (sic) part of your household,’ it instructs.

Rumors circulated on social media that the Biden administration had updated the guidelines as Vladimir Putin put his nuclear defense forces on high alert. 

The website’s last update was Friday, Feb. 25, according to a note at the bottom of the site, but the White House denied adding that Covid guidelines that day. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) spokesperson Jaclyn Rothenberg told The Independent: ‘It is not true that the Covid social distancing language was updated in response to the situation with Russia-Ukraine.’ 

‘COVID protocols were originally added in 2020, and pages are now going through reviews to update that language based on new CDC guidance that was just released.’ 

She said the only update on Friday was to fix a broken link. 

‘The change made to the page on 2/25 was to remove a link that previously existed but is now broken,’ Ms Rothenberg said.

‘That page was migrated to an site: Nuclear Detonation: Weapons, Improvised Nuclear Devices – Radiation Emergency Medical Management ( but the link was probably removed by the contractor as they were going through a sweep for broken links across the site and fixing them. That’s a routine procedure.’ 

READ: The full government guidance on what to do in the event of a nuclear explosion

 President Joe Biden is returning to D.C. Monday (pictured) from his weekend in his home state of Delaware as he continues to issue sanctions on Russian financial institutions in retaliation for its attack on Ukraine

The U.S. preparation website for nuclear explosions tells Americans to not look at the blast and to stay inside for 24 hours afterwards.

It also, however, includes COVID-19 restrictions like remaining six-feet away from people who are not part of the same household and wearing masks – a confusing sentiment as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) massively relaxed its indoor mask ecommendations on Friday.

The U.S. announced implementation of new sanctions against Russian financial institutions on Monday that would immediately effectively freeze Putin’s ‘war chest’ of $600 billion to prevent im from rescuing his country’s economy and the ruble plummets.

NY Stock Exchange and Nasdaq HALT trading of US listed Russian firms after Biden imposed new sanctions to cripple Russian central bank and target Putin’s $600BN Ukraine war chest 


The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market halted trading of Russian stocks listed in the U.S. Monday morning as President Joe Biden’s administration implemented new sanctions against Moscow’s financial institutions. 

The hold on trading, which stops short of a full delisting, is temporarily imposed while the NYSE and Nasdaq regulatory teams study newly imposed U.S. sanctions, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. 

The Treasury Department announced Monday implementation of new sanctions targeting the Russian central bank and state investment funds, which essentially leaves Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ‘war chest’ unusable in the latest retaliation for his invasion of Ukraine.

The White House freeze, according to two senior administration officials, is effective immediately and is aimed at stopping Putin from accessing his $600 billion financial reserve to stabilize his country’s economy in light of new sanctions.

The move was described as the most ‘significant action’ that Treasury has taken against an economy of Russia’s size, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the sanctions on the condition of anonymity.

Nasdaq also halted the trading of several Russian companies like search-engine Yandex NV and online retailer Ozon Holdings, which is sometimes called Russia’s Amazon. 

The Russian bank announced its main interest rate will rise to 20 percent – its highest this century – from 9.5 percent to counter the risks of the ruble’s rapid depreciation and higher inflation, which threaten Russians’ savings.

People wary that sanctions would deal a crippling blow to the economy have been flocking to banks and ATMs for days, with reports on social media of long lines and machines running out of paper currency.

The latest sanctions are likely to tank the ruble once again, triggering an even greater economic crisis for Russia.

‘Our strategy, to put it simply, is to make sure that the Russian economy goes backwards as long as President Putin decides to go forward with his invasion of Ukraine,’ a senior U.S. official said on a call with reporters.

Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio warned Monday: ‘Brace yourselves.’

‘The images and videos from #Kharkiv of the war crimes committed by #Putin will shock & outrage the world,’ the Florida Republican senator added.

Along with ‘war crimes,’ State Department Spokesman Ned Price said Russia is also engaged in ‘widespread’ human rights abuses.

‘Russia’s invasion has damaged and destroyed schools, hospitals, radio stations, and homes, killing and injuring civilians, including children,’ Price said in a statement.

Biden administration officials said Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Japan, European Union and others will join the U.S. in targeting the Russian central bank. 

‘In one fell swoop, the U.S. and Europe have rendered Putin’s war chest unusable,’ former State Department Russian and Europe sanction lead Edward Fishman told The Washington Post.

‘That the U.S. and Europe have done this in unified fashion sends a crystal-clear message that Russia will face dramatic costs so long as Putin’s war of aggression continues,’ he added. ‘This action represents a sea change in U.S. and European strategy. Just 72 hours ago, a step like this was unthinkable.’ 

Ukrainian and Russian delegations are meeting for peace talks at the Belarusian border on Monday. 

The Treasury Department announced Monday new sanctions targeting Russian financial institutions. This has led uneasy Russian people to line up at banks and ATMs on Monday (pictured) to recover money amid a barrage of severe economic sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine that has sent the ruble plummeting

As Kyiv and Moscow hold peace talks in Belarus on Monday, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are pictured boarding Marine One to fly back from Delaware to Washington, D.C. When back at the White House, Biden will host a secure call with NATO allies and partners to discuss Russia’s attack on Ukraine and coordinate united response

In a bid to stop a run on the ruble, Russia’s central bank, The Bank of Russia, is hiking interest rates from 9.5% to 20% this morning. Pictured: Residents queue to withdraw cash in Saint Petersburg

Treasury said the move effectively immobilizes any assets of the Russian Central Bank in the U.S. or held by Americans, and would severely limit Putin’s ability to mitigate impact of other sanctions.  Pictures show people in Saint Petersburg queuing around the corner to use nearby cash machines, as fears rise of an economic collapse due to biting Western sanctions

Ahead of the negotiations, Ukraine said it’s seeking a ceasefire and total withdrawal of all Russian forces from its country, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying he was not hopeful of results but had to try.

Moscow did not reveal ahead of the talks what its ambitions are in meeting with Kyiv officials.

Observers have warned that the talks could pre-sage an increase in fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces, as Putin increasingly deploys heavy forces that were absent from early fighting in an attempt to force a victory that has so-far eluded him. 

There are fears that Kyiv could soon come under very heavy attack, after the Kremlin warned civilians to leave the city via a ‘safe route’ to the south-west. Russia used similar tactics in Syrian cities while fighting alongside Basahar al-Assad before its forces heavily bombed them.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement Monday that ‘The unprecedented action we are taking today will significantly limit Russia’s ability to use assets to finance its destabilizing activities, and target the funds Putin and his inner circle depend on to enable his invasion of Ukraine.’ 

The agency said the move effectively immobilizes any assets of the Russian Central Bank in the United States or held by Americans, and would severely limit Putin’s ability to mitigate the impact of previous sanctions. 

The Biden administration estimated that the move could impact ‘hundreds of billions of dollars’ of Russia funding.  

President Biden directed last week, and Treasury announced implementation Monday of sanctions on the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a key Russian sovereign wealth fund, that has exposure to the U.S. financial system.

Sanctions were also imposed on RDIF’s Chief Executive Officer Kirill Dmitriev, a known Putin ally.

Treasury noted in its Monday statement: ‘Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle of cronies have long relied on RDIF and Dmitriev to raise funds abroad, including in the United States.’

‘By further restricting these persons and entities from the U.S. financial system, the United States continues to demonstrate its unwavering commitment to support Ukraine, impose costs on Putin’s inner circle or those connected to Putin and his war of choice, and to prevent Putin’s regime from raising capital to fund its invasion of Ukraine and other priorities,’ the statement details. 

On Monday, the State Department also announced it suspended operations at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, Belarus. It also authorized the ‘voluntary departure’ of non-emergency employees and family at the embassy in Moscow.

‘We took these steps due to security and safety issues stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine,’ the State Department noted in a statement on the move. 

The U.S. also warned on Monday of sanctions against Belarus if it joins Russia in its assault on Ukraine. 

President Biden directed last week, and Treasury announced implementation Monday of sanctions on the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a key Russian sovereign wealth fund that has exposure to the U.S. financial system, and on it’s CEO and key Putin ally Kirill Dmitriev (pictured on right meeting with with Putin on December 30 in Moscow)

Kyiv awoke from a night of heavy Russian bombardment on Monday, as fears increase that Putin’s troops could step up attacks as Ukrainian and Russian delegations meet in Belarus for peace talks on February 28, 2022

Treasury announced implementation of new sanctions targeting the Russian central bank and state investment funds in the latest retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine (pictured: an outside view of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation)

A Ukraine resident who volunteered to right against Russia prepares a post with trenches in Kyiv on Monday, February 28, 2022

An apartment building shown Monday on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine after it was destroyed by Russian shelling. At least 102 civilians, including seven children, have been killed in Ukraine since Moscow started its invasion last week

The new Treasury sanctions announced Monday come after the ruble plunged about 30 percent against the U.S. dollar when Western nations announced moves to block some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system and to restrict Russia’s use of its massive foreign currency reserves.

The exchange rate later recovered ground after swift action by Russia’s central bank, which more than doubled its key policy rate early today. 

British Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed earlier today that the UK Government will match sanctions imposed by the US and the EU by preventing Russian central banks from accessing cash in the UK.

Mr Sunak said: ‘These measures demonstrate our determination to apply severe economic sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

‘We are announcing this action in rapid coordination with our US and European allies to move in lock step once more with our international partners, to demonstrate our steadfast resolve in imposing the highest costs on Russia and to cut her off from the international financial system so long as this conflict persists.’ 

Europe’s financial market meanwhile also begun severing Russia on Monday from its critical plumbing for trading and settling securities as sanctions started to bite. 

Ukraine war: The latest 

Ukraine’s MoD says Russia has lost 5,300 soldiers, 29 planes, 29 helicopters and 151 tanksRussia’s MoD has for the first time acknowledged suffering losses, but refused to say how manyRussian economy entered freefall as Western sanctions put in place over the weekend took effect, with ruble sliding to its lowest level everMoscow’s central bank has more-than doubled the interest rate to 20 per centRussia orders people and companies to sell 80 per cent of their revenue in foreign currencies, forcing them to buy the ruble to help prop it upMoscow stock exchange won’t open until at least 3pm in an attempt to head off all-out crashZelensky has allowed Ukrainian prisoners to be freed if they join defence forces to ‘repay their debt’ Ukraine president also announced creation of ‘international brigade’ for foreign volunteers wishing to join military, after ‘thousands’ applied Spain’s foreign minister called Putin’s order to put nuclear forces on high alert ‘one more sign of [his] absolute irrationality’Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his country should be open to hosting nuclear weaponsGermany announced a $112million fund to rebuild the country’s armed forces, more-than double its current self-defence budgetEU announced, for the first time in its history, that it will send funds to Ukraine for weapons – including fighter jets 

Euroclear in Brussels said it has closed its link to rival settlement house Clearstream Banking in Luxembourg for settling trades in Russian securities in response to European Union financial sanctions.

Euroclear, owned by exchanges and banks, and Clearstream, part of Deutsche Boerse, settle securities transactions – the final leg of a trade when legal ownership is swapped between the two sides of the transaction.

‘We closed the bridge with Clearstream Banking Luxembourg for the settlement of all Russian domestic securities and all securities denominated in the Russian ruble,’ a Euroclear spokesman said on Monday.

The London Stock Exchange told its members on Monday they must conduct their own checks to ensure compliance with any applicable sanctions, as trading in UK listings of Russian energy giant Gazprom and Sberbank continued on Monday.

The European arm of Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, faces failure, the European Central Bank warned on Monday.

The LSE declined to comment on whether it planned to suspend trading in its Russian listings.

The London exchange suspended membership on Friday of VTB Capital, the trading arm of Russian bank VTB, which has been targeted with sanctions. VTB’s depository receipts on the LSE have not traded since Friday’s close.

Moscow’s department of public transport warned city residents over the weekend that they might experience problems with using Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay to pay fares because VTB, one of the Russian banks facing sanctions, handles card payments in Moscow’s metro, buses and trams.

A sharp devaluation of the ruble would mean a drop in the standard of living for the average Russian, economists and analysts said. Russians are still reliant on a multitude of imported goods and the prices for those items are likely to skyrocket. 

Foreign travel would become more expensive as their rubles buy less currency abroad. And the deeper economic turmoil will come in the coming weeks if price shocks and supply-chain issues cause Russian factories to shut down due to lower demand. 

‘It’s going to ripple through their economy really fast,’ said David Feldman, a professor of economics at William & Mary in Virginia. 

‘Anything that is imported is going to see the local cost in currency surge. The only way to stop it will be heavy subsidization.’

The Russian government will have to step in to support declining industries, banks and economic sectors, but without access to hard currencies like the U.S. dollar and euro, they may have to result to printing more rubles. 

It’s a move that could quickly spiral into hyperinflation.

Since Russia launched its invasion last week, at least 102 civilians, including seven children, have been killed in Ukraine.  

The European arm of Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, faces failure, the European Central Bank warned on Monday

What are the sanctions against Russia? 


 Russia banned from the SWIFT banking systemAt least 17 European countries have set up no-fly zones for Russian aircraft 

The EU, US, UK and their allies have agreed to cut off a number of Russian banks from SWIFT – the main international payment system.

Russia is heavily reliant on the SWIFT system,a secure messaging system that makes fast, cross-border payments possible, for its key oil and gas exports.

Based in Belgium, it facilitates transactions between more than 11,000 banks and financial institutions across the globe.

Germany, which relies on Russia for two thirds of its gas supply, had originally opposed Russia being banned from the SWIFT. But it sided with the UK and US and sanctions on Friday as Russia continued its advance in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, all 27 EU member countries, along with the UK and Ireland, have agreed to set up no-fly zones for Russian aircraft. The bloc’s airspace will now be closed to Russian-owned, registered or controlled aircraft, ‘including the private jets of oligarchs’.


• Asset freezes on all major Russian banks including against VTB

• Prohibit all major Russian companies from raising funds in City

• Sanctions against more than 100 individuals, firms and subsidiaries

Boris Johnson has announced the ‘largest and most severe package of economic sanctions that Russia has ever seen’ as he seeks to pile pressure on Vladimir Putin and cripple Moscow’s economy.

They will block Aeroflot from landing flights in the UK, and hit more than 100 business and individuals as Britain seeks to cripple Russian banks’ access to London’s financial institutions and curtail oligarchs luxury lifestyles in the capital.

Russia retaliated to the ban on Aeroflot flights landing in the UK by banning British flights to and over Russia. 

Britain does not count Russia as one of its major markets when compared to other foreign countries, but the sanctions could affect UK companies which work with firms in the country such as BP.

And a crackdown on Russian companies and billionaires in the UK would remove business from British banks and asset managers, and therefore have a noticeable impact on the UK economy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson records an address at Downing Street yesterday about the UK response to the crisis in Ukraine

Ukrainians hold a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine outside Downing Street in Westminster last night

Britain will freeze the assets of all major Russian banks, including immediately against VTB (head office in Moscow, today)

‘They come to Harrods to shop, they stay in our best hotels when they like, they send their children to our best public schools, and that is what’s being stopped,’ a diplomatic source said. ‘So that these people are essentially persona non grata in every major western European capital in the world. That really bites.’

The package in response to the invasion of Ukraine is understood to include the following measures:

– An intention to impose asset freezes on all major Russian banks, including immediately against VTB, the second largest bank with assets totalling £154 billion.

Britain’s 10-point plan to cripple Russian economy 

Asset freezes on all major Russian banks, including immediately against VTB, the second largest bank with assets totalling £154billion.Legislation to prohibit all major Russian companies from raising funds in the City and to ban the Russian state from raising sovereign debt on UK markets, which comes into effect on Tuesday.Sanctions against more than 100 individuals, firms and subsidiaries – including Rostec, Russia’s biggest defence company that exports more than £10billion of arms each year. Five oligarchs targeted include Kirill Shamalov, Russia’s youngest billionaire who was formerly married to Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.Aeroflot, the Russian flag carrier, banned from all British airspace and airports imminently. It is a long-time sponsor of Manchester United and flies the football team to their European games.Immediate suspension of export licences to Russia on items such as computer components and truck parts. In 2020, there were 270 applications worth £106million.Legislation prohibiting a wide range of high-tech exports to Russia and for the oil industry including aircraft parts such as Rolls-Royce engines.Legislation to cut off wealthy Russians’ access to UK bank accounts, including a £50,000 limit on what can be held in one.Work with G7 and Nato allies to end Russian access to the Swift international payment system, which would make it harder for it to recoup profits from oil and gas exports.Extend the full range of sanctions against Russia to Belarus, given its cooperation with Moscow.Bring forward the Economic Crime Bill – which is designed to crack down on the flow of dirty money to the UK – to before Easter. The much-delayed legislation is expected to crack down on the abuse of shell companies, unmask the real owners of offshore companies that hold British property, and introduce tougher powers to challenge kleptocrats’ unexplained wealth.

– Legislation to be introduced and come into force on Tuesday to prohibit the ability of all major Russian companies to raise finance on the UK markets and to ban the Russian state from raising sovereign debt on the UK markets.

– Individual sanctions against more than 100 individuals, entities and subsidiaries including Rostec, Russia’s biggest defence company said to employ more than two million people with exports of more than £10 billion of arms each year.

The Tactical Missile Corporation, which supplies air and sea missiles, was also hit, as was Uralvagonzavod, one of the world’s largest tank manufacturers.

– Sanctioning five more oligarchs thought to be particularly close to the Kremlin:

Kirill Shamalov, at 39 he is Russia’s youngest billionaire and is the former husband of Mr Putin’s daughter Katerina Tikhonova.

Pyotr Fradkov, the 43-year-old head of sanctioned Promsvyazbank, which finances Russian defence industries. He is the son of Mikhail Fradkov, a former prime minister of Russia who was chief of its foreign intelligence service.

Denis Bortnikov, the 47-year-old deputy president of government-affiliated VTB bank, for benefiting from or supporting the Kremlin. His father Alexander Bortnikov is head of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Yury Slyusar, 47, the director of United Aircraft Corporation, one of the major defence organisations which is also being sanctioned.

Elena Georgieva, 45, the chairwoman of the board of Novikombank, a state-owned defence conglomerate that bankrolls Rostec.

Officials were considering more elites to be hit with punitive measures in the weeks to come.

– Imminently banning Aeroflot aircraft from landing in the UK.

– With immediate effect, suspending and prohibiting all dual-use export licences to Russia on items that could have citizen or military use, such as electrical components that could be used in military or civilian computers, or parts of trucks.

– Within days introducing legislation prohibiting a wide range of hi-tech exports to Russia and for the oil industry. This would entirely align with the approach from the US, including semiconductors and aircraft spare parts, such as Rolls Royce engines.

– To introduce legislation that will limit the amount of deposits wealthy Russian nationals could hold in UK bank accounts at £50,000. It is part of a plan to end access of the Russian banking sector to British economy as far as possible.

– Work with allies to limit Russian access to the Swift payment system, which will need be done in conjunction with G7 and Nato allies.

People in a pub near Euston in London watch an address to the nation by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday

The congregation attending a mass at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in London last night

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘There are a range of views of it and we recognise it is a challenge. Certainly it is the Prime Minister’s intention – he thinks it is the right thing to do.’

– Extend the full range of sanctions against Russia to Belarus, given its cooperation with Moscow.

– Bring forward measures intended for the Economic Crime Bill to before Easter.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: ‘Before Easter recess we will bring forward legislation previously intended for the Economic Crime Bill to strengthen unexplained wealth orders to take action against kleptocrats that launder funds in the UK.’

Today, Russia’s civil aviation authority banned UK flights to and over Russia in retaliation to the British ban on Aeroflot flights. Rosaviatsiya said that all flights by UK carriers to Russia as well as transit flights have been banned, starting Friday.

It said the measure was taken in response to the ‘unfriendly decisions’ by the British authorities who banned flights to the UK by Russian flag carrier Aeroflot as part of sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


• Targeting ’70 per cent of the Russian banking market’

• Export ban on equipment and technology for energy sector

• Freezing assets of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle

Ursula von der Leyen said Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine marks the ‘beginning of a new era’ as the European Commission president outlined a package of further EU sanctions against Russia.

Following a late-night European Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine, Ms von der Leyen said the package included financial, energy and technological sanctions aimed to deter Mr Putin from redrawing ‘the map of Europe by force’.

She said the European Union agreed to impose sanctions that ‘will have maximum impact on the Russian economy and the political elite’.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, holds a press conference in Brussels this morning

French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels today

They plan to target ’70 per cent of the Russian banking market’ and key state-owned companies, including those in the field of defence, she said.

Sanctions on the energy sector include an export ban on equipment and technology that Russia needs to upgrade its oil refineries, as well as a ban on aircraft and aviation parts to its airlines.

The EU will hit the elite and Putin’s inner circle by freezing their assets and banning them from ‘privileged access’ to the bloc.

But the leaders stopped short of kicking Russia out of the SWIFT network, which the world’s banks use to securely send messages and carry out financial transactions.

A protestor holds a placard depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin during a rally in support of Ukraine in Paris yesterday

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is illuminated in the colours of the flag of Ukraine during a solidarity demonstration yesterday

In a series of tweets early this morning, Ms von der Leyen said the sanctions show ‘how united the EU is’. She said: 

‘First, this package includes financial sanctions, targeting 70 per cent of the Russian banking market and key state owned companies, including in defence.‘Second, we target the energy sector, a key economic area which especially benefits the Russian state. Our export ban will hit the oil sector by making it impossible for Russia to upgrade its refineries.‘Third: we ban the sale of aircrafts and equipment to Russian airlines.‘Fourth, we are limiting Russia’s access to crucial technology, such as semiconductors or cutting-edge software.‘Finally: visas. Diplomats and related groups and business people will no longer have privileged access to the European Union.’

She added: ‘These events mark the beginning of a new era. Putin is trying to subjugate a friendly European country. He is trying to redraw the map of Europe by force. He must and he will fail.’

It comes after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday halted the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas undersea pipeline designed to boost Russian gas supply to Germany.

The pipeline directly links Russian gas to Europe via Germany and is complete but not yet operating. It has become a major target as Western governments try to exert leverage on Russia to deter further military moves.


• Blocking Russia’s technology and defence imports

• Sanctions on Russian banks and ‘corrupt billionaires’

• Blocking 13 major companies from raising money in US

US president Joe Biden yesterday ordered broad new sanctions targeting Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, declaring that leader Vladimir Putin ‘chose this war’ and his country will bear the consequences.

The sanctions target Russian banks, oligarchs and high-tech sectors, Mr Biden said. The United States and its allies will block assets of four large Russian banks – including the country’s two largest, Sberbank and VTB Bank – impose export controls and sanction oligarchs.

Mr Biden also said the US will be deploying additional forces to Germany to bolster Nato after the invasion of Ukraine, which is not a member of the defence organisation. Around 7,000 additional US troops will be sent.

President Joe Biden talks about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House in Washington yesterday

Energy giant Gazprom and 12 other major companies will be barred from raising capital in Western financial markets.

Washington also applied sanctions on Russian banks, and whom it described as ‘corrupt billionaires’ and their families who are close to the Kremlin.

It said it would cut off 13 major state-owned companies from raising money in the United States, including energy giant Gazprom and Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution.

Defence and aeronautics technology exports to Russia are also restricted, and 24 Belarusian individuals and organisations accused of supporting and aiding the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine will face penalties.

Activists hold placards at Lafayette Square in Washington DC yesterday to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The penalties fall in line with the White House’s insistence that it would hit Russia’s financial system and Mr Putin’s inner circle, while also imposing export controls that would aim to starve Russia’s industries and military of US semiconductors and other high-tech products.

‘Putin is the aggressor,’ Mr Biden said. ‘Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences.’

Mr Biden, for now, held off imposing some of the most severe potential sanctions, including cutting Russia out of the Swift payment system, which allows for the transfers of money from bank to bank around the globe.

Mr Biden announced the sanctions at the White House while Ukraine’s government reported mounting casualties inflicted by Russian forces attacking from the east, north and south. Oil and natural prices have already surged over concerns that Russia – an energy production behemoth – will slow the flow of oil and natural gas to Europe.

Supporters of Ukraine protest the Russian invasion yesterday as they gather on the streets of New York City

Mr Biden, however, acknowledged the sanctions are ‘going to take time’ to have their effect on the Russian economy. He also acknowledged that the invasion – and efforts to thwart Mr Putin – will have a cost for Americans.

But he sought to reassure that the economic pain that may come with rising energy prices will be short lived for them. As for Mr Putin, he said: ‘He’s going to test the resolve of the West to see if we stay together, and we will.’

While Mr Biden described the sanctions as severe, Ukrainian officials urged the US and West to go further and cut the Russians from the Swift financial system.

‘We demand the disconnection of Russia from Swift, the introduction of a no-fly zone over Ukraine and other effective steps to stop the aggressor,’ Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a tweet.

The Biden administration, however, has shown some reluctance to cut Russia from Swift, at least immediately, because of concerns the move could also have enormous ramifications for Europe and other Western economies.


• Sanctions against 58 individuals and entities

• Export permits for goods in aerospace and mining are cancelled

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to ‘punish Russia’, announcing sanctions against 58 individuals and entities, including members of the elite, security officials, banks, and Russian private security firm the Wagner group.

Export permits for goods worth $550 million in aerospace, information technology and mining have been canceled, and Ottawa has placed 3,400 troops on standby to deploy to Europe, along with aircraft and warships.

Canada announced more sanctions against Russia yesterday, targeting 62 individuals and entities, including members of the elite and major banks, and cancelled all export permits following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks as other politicians look on during a news conference in Ottawa yesterday

‘Today, in light of Russia’s reckless and dangerous military strike, we are imposing further, severe sanctions,’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference.

‘These sanctions are wide-reaching. They will impose severe costs on complicit Russian elites, and they will limit President (Vladimir) Putin’s ability to continue funding this unjustified invasion,’ Mr Trudeau said. 

Sanctions will target the Russian Security Council, including the defence minister, the finance Minister, and the justice minister, Mr Trudeau said.

Canada exported some C$666 million ($518.5 million) in goods to Russia in 2019, according to Statistics Canada. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is of Ukrainian descent, said the response by Canada and its allies ‘will bite’.

Ukrainian supporters rally in Toronto, Canada, yesterday after Russian forces invaded Ukraine

Mr Putin ‘cements his place in the ranks of the reviled European dictators who caused such carnage in the 20th century,’ Ms Freeland said. ‘This barbaric attack cannot and will not be allowed to succeed.’

Furthermore, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will have safe passage at the land borders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova, Mr Trudeau said.

Canada will prioritize immigration applications for Ukrainians who want to come Canada, the prime minister added. 


• Sanctions on 25 individuals and four financial institutions

• Targeting entities involved in developing and selling military equipment

In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a ‘second phase’ of sanctions against Russia targeting 25 individuals, four financial institutions, and entities involved in developing and selling military equipment.

Another wave would be imposed once ‘those responsible for these egregious acts’ are identified, he said, which could include targeting members of Russia’s parliament.

Mr Morrison added that it was ‘unacceptable’ that China was easing trade restrictions with Moscow at a time when it invaded Ukraine.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets with Ukrainian community leaders in Adelaide today

‘We will work along with our partners for a rolling wave of sanctions and continuing to ratchet up that pressure on Russia,’ he said during a media conference.

Mr Morrison said the fresh sanctions will be placed against ‘oligarchs whose economic weight is of strategic significance to Moscow’ and over 300 members of the Russian parliament who voted to authorise sending Russian troops into Ukraine.

Australia is also working with the United States to align with their sanctions overnight on key Belarussian individuals and entities who helped Russia and NATO to provide non-lethal military equipment and medical supplies for Ukraine, he said.

Mr Morrison voiced concerns over the ‘lack of strong response’ from China and criticised Beijing about reports it had eased trade curbs with Moscow by allowing imports of wheat from Russia.

People chant and wave Ukrainian flags as they gather in Sydney to demonstrate against Russian attacks in Ukraine yesterday

‘You don’t go and throw a lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they are invading another country. That is simply unacceptable,’ he said.

In early February, during a visit to Beijing by President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s state agricultural watchdog said China had agreed to allow imports of wheat and barley from all regions of Russia. China officially confirmed the agreement on Thursday.

China and Australia have recently clashed over a number of issues including trade, the origins of the coronavirus and accusations from Australia of foreign interference.  


• Prohibiting export of goods to the Russian military

• Cutting trade with Russia and imposing travel bans

New Zealand imposed targeted travel bans on Russia and prohibited goods trade to its military and security forces as it joined Western allies in imposing sanctions after Moscow’s military invaded Ukraine.

‘The world is speaking and sending a very clear message to Russia that what they have done is wrong and they will face the condemnation of the world,’ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks on the Russian invasion of Ukraine from the Beehive in Auckland today

She added that more sanctions may follow as the conflict escalates, and also said: ‘An unthinkable number of innocent lives could be lost because of Russia’s decision.’

And Ms Ardern told a press conference: ‘Right here and now we need to take immediate action. This is the blatant use of military might and violence that will take innocent lives and we must stand against it.’


• Measures targeting exports of semiconductors

• Asset freezes placed on financial institutions

• Suspension of visas for Russian individuals

Japan will strengthen sanctions against Russia to include financial institutions and military equipment exports, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said today.

He added that an impact on his resource-poor nation’s energy supply is unlikely, and told a news conference that Tokyo would take aim at Russian financial institutions and individuals with the sanctions.

These will be imposed immediately, as well as halt exports of military-use goods such as semiconductors – currently undergoing a global shortage.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo today

Mr Kishida said he hoped coordinated action with other members of the Group of Seven (G7) nations against Russia would send a message to stem any aggression in Asia and other regions.

Rahm Emanuel, ambassador to Japan from the United States – one of Japan’s key allies – praised the move.

‘Japan’s swift response in collaboration with the United States and G7 member, the European Union and Australia to implement financial sanctions against Russian banks, oligarchs and corporate entities, suspend visa issuances, and restrict the exports of semiconductors and high-tech products will impose unprecedented economic costs on Russia for unprecedented action,’ he said in a statement.

But Russia’s ambassador to Japan, Mikhail Galuzin, said he had recently notified a top Japanese official that there would be a response to Japan’s actions, terming them a ‘mutually unbeneficial step.’

‘I suppose it will be a serious response from us,’ he told a news conference in Tokyo. ‘I am confident that, (by) taking such steps, the Japanese government does not contribute to the development of mutual and beneficial friendly relations between our countries.’ 

People shout slogans as they protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine outside the Russian Embassy in Tokyo today

For Japan, the most immediate impact of the crisis is likely to be seen in rising fuel prices. Mr Kishida said Japan would do the utmost to limit the economic impact to itself, including by ensuring a stable supply of energy.

Japan has about 240 days’ worth of crude oil reserves and reserves of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to last two to three weeks, Kishida said, adding that the government would step up measures to stem a rise in retail fuel prices. 

Japan will release oil from its national reserves as needed in cooperation with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and relevant countries, industry minister Koichi Hagiuda told a separate news conference.

Russia was Japan’s fifth-biggest supplier of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2021, accounting for 3.63 per cent and 8.84 per cent of its total imports, respectively. 

Japan and Russia have complex relations and did not sign a peace treaty after the Second World War because of a lingering dispute over four islands claimed by Moscow in the closing days of the conflict.

The islands, off the coast of Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, are known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.


• Government will ‘harshly scrutinise’ exports to Russia

• Will ‘coordinate closely with US and other like-minded countries’

Taiwan will join ‘democratic countries’ in putting sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, the government said today, with the world’s largest contract chipmaker TSMC adding it would comply with all export control rules.

The crisis is being watched closely in Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory and which has faced increased military pressure from Beijing over the last two years.

‘We very harshly condemn such an act of invasion and will join democratic countries to jointly impose sanctions,’ Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters in Taipei without giving details.

Taiwan Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua said the island will ‘harshly scrutinise’ exports to Russia and ‘coordinate’ with unspecified allies on further actions. She also did not elaborate.

A group of Ukrainian people in Taiwan and supporters hold posters to protest against the invasion of Russia in Taipei today

The foreign ministry said in a statement the island, which is key to the global semiconductor supply chain, will ‘coordinate closely with the United States and other like-minded countries to adopt appropriate measures in order to free Ukraine from the horrors of war.’

Asked about the sanctions, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC)  a major Apple supplier and Asia’s most valuable listed company, said it would follow export control rules.

‘TSMC complies with all applicable laws and regulations and is fully committed to complying with the new export control rules announced,’ it said in a statement. ‘The company also has a rigorous export control system in place, including a robust assessment and review process to ensure export control restrictions are followed.’

Russia is not a major market for Taiwan’s goods. Taiwan’s trade with Ukraine and Russia each accounted for less than 1 per cent of its total, government data showed. The island’s natural gas contract with Russia is due to expire in March and Taiwan will diversify its supplies, the economic ministry said yesterday.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, speaking at an event in the southern city of Tainan, reiterated that Taiwan and Ukraine’s situations were not the same, and that the Taiwan Strait formed a ‘natural barrier’.

The Taiwan military’s continuous improvement in its combat power, as well as the high attention paid to the region by ‘friendly and allied countries’ give strong confidence in maintaining security, she added.

‘We must also consolidate our psychological defences, strengthen preventive cognitive warfare operations, and prevent foreign forces and local collaborators from using false information to create panic and affect the morale of Taiwanese society by using Ukraine’s turbulent situation.’ 


• Will join international sanctions but won’t consider unilateral sanctions

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said South Korea would join the international community’s efforts to slap economic sanctions on Russia, but officials said they were not considering adopting unilateral measures.

President Moon said at a National Security Council meeting that Ukraine’s sovereignty, territory, and independence must be respected, press secretary Park Soo-hyun told a briefing.

South Korea will support international efforts to restrain armed aggression and seek a peaceful resolution, including by joining in economic sanctions, Park quoted President Moon as saying.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in presides over a meeting of senior secretaries at the presidential office in Seoul this week

A foreign ministry official who later briefed reporters mentioned export controls as part of possible international sanctions. ‘Of course some countries are considering unilateral sanctions including financial measures but we are not considering that.’

Discussions are under way to finalise details, the official added.

South Korea designated Ukraine as a key recipient of official development aid last year, and currently provides help in education, health and public administration among other areas. 

The top Ukraine official in South Korea said today that his country wants to request Seoul’s assistance in boosting its cybersecurity capability to defend against Russian attacks.  

Russia is South Korea’s major energy supplier and 10th largest trade partner, with several big companies including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor running plants there. 





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